Student athletes face tremendous pressure and are often called upon to make quick decisions. These decisions can have serious long-term implications, which is why it’s so important for student athletes to develop problem-solving capabilities. Generally, student athletes are not trained to use the critical thinking skills needed to make sound choices.
There are several problem-solving methods that you can utilize to help you perform better, on and off the field. In many cases, the ability to make smart decisions is just as important as athleticism, especially in the heat of competition. Here are 4 problem-solving methods that every student athlete should practice:
- Think Through Each Situation
Before rushing into a situation, whenever possible, think it through and assess the implications. Taking the time to organize your thoughts before acting will help you create a plan of action that leads to the best possible outcome.
- Swiftly Weigh Risks Against Rewards.
The ability to make quick decisions while considering both the pros and the cons of the outcome is one of the most important skills that you can possess as a student athlete. Just like with any skill, the more you practice making good decisions, the faster this process will become.
- Find the Hidden Opportunities in a Problem
Each situation has multiple sides. By learning to see “problems” from an alternate point of view, you can discover opportunities that may not have seemed apparent in the beginning. With some creative thinking, you can often come up with alternative solutions that help turn the problem around and open up new doors.
- Review the Big Picture Before Making a Decision
Learning to view each individual decision as part of a greater whole is essential to reaching your full potential as a student athlete. Being able to assess situations from this airplane-level view also helps you to establish yourself as a strong leader.
By practicing these problem-solving methods, you can learn to make quick decisions that will reflect positively on both you and your team. Learning to identify and evaluate your thought processes will help you become a critical thinker, as well as a better student athlete overall.